Some of you know I coach HS football in Baton Rouge, first year doing so. We played our last game of the season Thursday night.
It has been a very difficult season. We play about 75% underclassmen, with only about 4 seniors contributing. It was our head coaches first year as the head, and he didn't get the job untill 2 weeks before the season. We lost some key guys before the season even started. We won our jamboree 20-6 against a team now 9-1 poised to make a deep run into the playoffs, and we won our opener 48-6 against a 2-A school. We're 4-A, second biggest.
We would drop the next 5, and drop 'em big. Some schools just have school spirit, regardless of the score. We do not. All year we heard from the student body, from other teachers, and even administrators, "ya'll suck, why you wasting yo time?". The VP openly telling us and other students, "I don't like football, I don't like coaches, it's a waste of time!". Like I've been telling my players, you gotta be loved to show love.
We got to district, and made a little run. Injury riddled, with a QB controversy, playing against some 'fans', some referees, and sometimes playing against our own school it seemed. We started 2-1 in district and in one of those wins shut down one of the #1 RB's in the state. We dropped our last district game and pretty much ended our hopes of a playoff birth. But last night was great.
It was a game we where 'supposed' to win, but at 3-6, you never know. It was thier senior night. It was also the school I was student-teaching at a year and a half ago. I somehow became like a team chaplain there, and got really close with the studentbody. I was definately coming full circle.
We jumped out to 13-0 halftime lead, and thought we were going to run away with it. We started putting in scrubs in the 3rd quater. Then, they scored once. They came out with a fire in the second half. Two touchdowns were called back for holding against us. They scored again and pulled out to 14-13 lead late in the 4th. They drove the field and were inside the 5 with about 4 minutes to go. I really thought it was over.
Our defense rose to the challenge. Stopped once, bam! Again, stuffed! 3rd down, crack! And on 4th and 1 from the 3, my offensive gaurd playing DT bust through with some help and stopped them short! It was surreal. Now we just had to drive 97 yards in less than 4 minutes.
Reggie Stansberry, our sophomore HB had almost been kicked off the team a few times, and almost quit a few times carried the load. He's super quick, often leaving tackler's looking stupid. The offense marched down the field with authority! Sweep right 12 yards. Sweep left for 15. One of our QB's scambled on a 4th and 16 to keep the drive alive. With 20 seconds left and no timeouts, we rolled the dice and went back to the sweep. The diminutive RB bounced it outside, with great blocking in front of him, and ran through 2 or 3 defenders to score the winning touchdown with just 7 seconds on the clock. I could hear some imaginary broadcaster in my head, "Touchdown Panthers! Touchdown Pathers! 7 seconds left, what a finish!"
Against so much adversity and negativity, they palyed thier hearts out last night. I am so proud of those guys. This really wasn't about any individual, but Stansberry did have his name in the newspaper headline. Just wanted to share a great night.